In Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia where there is community private business partnerships with hunters facilitated by the government there are tangible infrastructural development investments made through hunting revenue.
They built schools, clinics, roads and bridges. They have bought grinding mills and ambulances. They have employed community rangers. Most importantly, these socioeconomic benefits have incentivized wildlife conservation unlike before when poaching was the norm without benefits.
In the case of Botswana it is not an accident that the same that former president Ian Khama disincentivised wildlife conservation particularly elephants through hunting ban, poaching started increasing from then own. This proves our argument that banning hunting disincentivises elephant and wildlife conservation in general.
Therefore, President Masisi is doing the right thing to make hunting serve as an incentive to stop poaching. As some who has interacted with Southern African Rural communities for the past 26 years, I remember a Botswana Deputy Chief from Kavimba in Kachikau Village, Luckson Masule impressively telling that he was once a poacher but he stopped as soon as his community started benefiting from hunting revenue benefits.
These are the tangible benefits flowing from hunting that President Masisi is trying to courageously bring back to Botswana, despite ill-informed worldwide opposition from desktop conservationists and keypad commandos, particularly from Western countries. African wildlife has never and will never be saved on a computer keypad by people who have never set foot in an African village living side by side with wildlife next to national parks.
If the Western animal rightists truly love African elephants they must with immediate effect come and airlift them and keep them in the backyards where even a goat cannot survive for 24 hours. Then we can start growing cash crops in the national parks and start making money for our rural communities.
I was impressed to read a statement by Botswana journalists, telling the Western animal rights to let Botswana manage its elephants in ways that work for elephants and its people. Well done!
Johannesburg-based environmental journalist